Reflections on Formline
“These four panels are designed as sections of what would otherwise be a complete design. I used sections to simplify what often seems very complicated in its construction. What I wanted to achieve was a focus on the form and basic construction. In formline there are just four design elements: ovoid, u-form, circle and s-shape. When constructed properly there are predictable negative spaces (resultant forms) that all come together to complete the design. In two dimensional formline design the positive and negative space is of equal importance in creating a balance. The four design elements used must stay true to their form, but the proportion of that form can be changed.
Once the design is completed, the black and red is painted on the flat surface. The negative areas, those unpainted, are then carved in a predetermined planar arrangement. If the design is to have a third color, it is applied to certain carved planes in the design structure. The goal is a successful design, with balance and movement, following a system that has evolved over thousands of years. While learning, it can feel overwhelming, and often limiting, to stay within the requirements of this amazing, but highly structured art form.
I often get the question, “Doesn’t all this limit your creativity?” For me working within that rigid system has become the challenge and the inspiration. The challenge is not unlike the use of twelve notes to compose a great symphony. Or twenty six letters of the alphabet to write a classic book. A limited system to some, and to others… limitless.”
-Scott Jensen, 2017